Turkish farmer puts VR glasses on cows – panorama

Farmer Izzet Kocak, 30, from Aksaray, Turkey, is taking unconventional paths. In order to get more milk from his cows in the winter, he puts virtual reality goggles on the animals – so the cows think they are grazing in lush pasture, when in reality they are standing in the barn and get milked. It works: there are five or six liters more in the milk cans than in previous years.

SZ: Hello, Mr. Kocak. You are not allowed to visit, and you are also difficult to reach by phone. What’s wrong?

Izzet Kocak: There’s a lot going on. The world press is knocking on my door, everyone is writing about cows with VR goggles. There are millions of clicks on the Internet. Even the New York Times made contact with my cows. But now I only give information to journalists by phone. Due to Corona – the visit is not possible.

Global interest can hardly surprise you. Which farmer puts VR glasses on his cows to get more milk?

Yes, but it works fine. While we milk the animals, they transport the equipment and see nature in its purest form: meadows, forests, streams. They also listen to classical music. Mozart and Beethoven. And because they like it, they give more milk.

How did the idea come to you?

I read on Facebook that they tried such things successfully in Russia and then tried it. I took my kids’ VR goggles and put them on the cows.

However, some newspapers write that these are special glasses from Russia. Is it correct?

No, my VR glasses are really for children. They are not expensive, around 250 Turkish liras (equivalent to 17 euros, editor’s note). Of course, they are too small for the cow skull. But real virtual reality glasses for animals do not yet exist. That’s why I use two devices per cow: the animals see an endless loop with nature video in one eye, and it’s dark in the other. We feed the nature video from a mobile phone. But now I’m in touch with a company that’s supposed to be developing something appropriate, something for both cow’s eyes.

And cattle wear these parts all day?

No, no, just for the milking. The cow is online for 20 minutes, that’s all it takes. So far there are only two animals I am testing with. I will go to six soon. And if it continues well, I will do it with all my dairy cows.

What are the names of your two miracle cows?

They don’t really have real names. I call them my “Golden Girls”.

Turkish animal rights activists say you are a terrible animal abuser.

No I’m not. Animals love music, it calms them down. They also like videos. I also consulted veterinarians. They said that was no problem.

And when the Golden Girls aren’t online, what do they do?

They stand in the stable or on the pasture. My farm is over 6000 square meters and I produce 700 tons of milk per year.

You seem to know cattle. Did you grow up on a farm?

Yes, we are actually a three generation company. My grandfather is a farmer, my father, me – and I hope later my two grandsons too. I myself worked on my father’s farm until three years ago. Then I started my own business. I now have 180 cattle including 100 dairy cows. It is a beautiful reddish-brown breed. They come from Austria.

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